Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Annex B


  42.  The original contract awarded in 1998 did not specify the number of PCs to be delivered. The supplier was given the information needed to construct the bid, including the number of users and locations. It became evident during the re-negotiations leading to the revised contract in 2000 that the supplier had underestimated the number. The 2000 version of the contract did include the number of PCs to be delivered. This was 10,300. This figure is now 11,000, plus or minus 5%, and includes additional laptops for remote access to the service. The contract did not specify the specific office software set, only the facilities required. Fujitsu selected Microsoft Office to meet those requirements. The contract includes the training of all staff.

  43.  Modern office infrastructure used in any corporation or department is far more than the desktop PCs. It consists of a secure, resilient and supported network of servers, workstations and communications equipment, which is centrally managed and supported. The Libra Office Automation service comprises such an infrastructure and office support products. In addition to the 11,000 PCs (including laptops), it also includes just over 5000 printers to be delivered to the desktop, an increase of just over 200 from the 2000 contract.

  44.  The PCs and printers are connected to Local Area Networks that have been installed in each of the 400 sites, and each of these is connected to the data centres by a Wide Area Network. The cabling, servers and communications equipment are included in the service.

  45.  The servers are housed off-site at Fujitsu's data centres. One data centre provides the service to all MCCs, and a second data centre provides disaster recovery. All data is backed-up by Fujitsu who handle such aspects as security and disaster recovery.

  46.  The price also includes a full technology refresh of the desktop equipment and upgrades of Microsoft products in 2005.

  47.  Each PC has Microsoft Office and other products installed, running under the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system. Each terminal is also connected to the existing main legacy application allowing staff to process cases through the PC. A number of enhancements have been included in the new deal, including Internet Browsing for all staff, and integration with the police fixed penalty system. Separately we are working on connection to the Government Secure Intranet to provide secure e-mail facilities. Delivery of these enhancements will enable the Department to meet a key Government target to provide secure e-mail across the all criminal justice organisations by the end of 2003.

  48.  The network is monitored by Fujitsu to enable faults to be diagnosed quickly.

  49.  The key feature of the service is the support provided by the supplier to MCCs in their day-to-day running of the systems. The support includes the Help Desk, on-line diagnosis of faults, replacement of faulty equipment, management of filestore and network capacity, ensuring reliability and availability of the service against contractual service levels (with service credits accruing to MCCs where these levels have not been delivered).

  50.  The Office Automation service started at the first MCC in October 2000. The rollout programme is around 86% complete, and will be concluded in the spring of next year. The Department and MCCs have paid a total of £26 million for the service up to 31 March 2002. The charges for this service were agreed as part of the 2000 negotiations. They were set at a level to ensure the supplier had an incentive to deliver the core application and did not represent a commercially viable deal for FS for the office automation service alone. To complete the rollout of the Office Automation service, deliver the enhancements and run the service to 31 March 2007, the costs are estimated at £206 million, giving a total of £232 million. The charging regime has been changed from a caseload base to a workstation/user base.

  51.  An independent benchmarking exercise was carried out which confirmed that this price is comparable to that paid by other public and private sector organisations of similar size and complexity. We used an external specialist who builds a profile of the size and scope of the tasks and who then uses his database of companies and departments to identify similar installations and their costs. The FS costs (excluding items such as cost of capital and risks which are excluded from the comparison) were within the range of costs from the comparative organisations.

Sir Hayden Phillips GCB
Permanent Secretary
Lord Chancellor's Department

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Prepared 27 November 2002